Case Study - ​Herding cats and home sitting

Posted on 29 June, 2016

homesitter Ann King at home with pet cat

Ann King from near Sevenoaks in Kent has been home and pet sitting for 20 years since a friend suggested it would suit her lifestyle, as she works from home and is a cat and dog lover.

Working from home as an editor means that it’s easy for Ann to pick up her laptop and work in a different place, and she liked the sound of a role that allowed her to meet different people, look after animals and spend time in different environments.

Ann has been offered interesting home sits as far afield as Scotland, and even some abroad, but tends to do assignments a little closer to home.

Since 1996, Ann has been home and pet sitting for a regular client based near Hampton Court in Surrey.

When Ann first started these assignments she looked after three cats who were brother and sisters and lots of fun. The last one lived to about 13 years old; the client then had two new cats, Thelma and Louise, and now Ann just cares for Thelma.

Ann recalls when she first started home and pet sitting for the three feline siblings, “The client asked me to put the three cats in the kitchen at night – I was literally ‘herding cats’,” she laughs, “one of the female cats was rather nervous and used to climb up the curtains and sit on the curtain rail to avoid me. I tried everything, even lining up treats along the floor to the kitchen, but she was too canny for that. In the end I used to creep down the stairs later and find her asleep on a beanbag and I’d carry the whole beanbag – with her on it – into the kitchen! It was a real battle of wills!

“The male cat, Theo, wasn’t shy at all and was very affectionate – when I was watching television he used to sit on the back of the sofa behind me and massage my head – and he’d put his arms round my neck and give me a hug, it was lovely! If I stayed in bed any later than 7 a.m. he’d remind me it was breakfast time by patting me on the face.”

One morning Ann came into the kitchen to find the extraordinary sight of the three cats sitting around in a semi-circle watching a mouse who was quite happily drinking out of their water bowl!

Ann‘s regular assignment in Surrey has become a real home from home and the client has become a great friend. She also enjoys the short stroll to Hampton Court and walking along the river when she stays there, and she likes to watch Thelma play with her bag of toys, including a little cart which she pulls around.

Ann also does assignments in other places, and one job involved looking after a horse, a donkey, cats and rabbits. She was amused to discover that while she mucked out the horse and donkey the cat would ride on the horse’s back!

Ann is so impressed with Homesitters that when she and her partner went on holiday a few years ago and didn’t have anyone to look after their own three cats they used the service themselves.

Ann comments, “Homesitters offer a wonderful service and it was very nice knowing that while we were away fellow homesitters were there looking after everything. Being a homesitter myself I know that they have an extremely thorough vetting service, so knew they were someone really trustworthy.”

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